Thanks for joining me on Day 3 of my Extreme Rules fan diary.
Since I will be attending my first PPV at Extreme Rules, I thought I would look back on some key moments in my own personal history with professional wrestling.
On Day 1 I looked at what first got me into wrestling, and on Day 2 I looked back on my first live WWE event. Today I will be looking back on the first WrestleMania PPV I was able to watch live on PPV, WrestleMania 11.
I was recently going through some of my old wrestling stuff, and I found the pictured article inside one of my old magazines. I do not know why I cut it out and kept it, but I am glad I did, because it makes for a nice photo.
This event sticks out to me as one of the best WrestleManias for more reasons than it simply being the first one I watched that was not on WWE Home Video.
The first match that night was The Allied Powers Lex Luger and The British Bulldog vs. The Blu Brothers with Uncle Zebekiah.
The match lasted less than 10 minutes, but at the time I was a huge fan of both Luger and The Bulldog, so I enjoyed it regardless of it basically being a squash match.
Razor Ramon failed to capture the IC title from Jeff Jarrett after Jarrett lost by disqualification when The Roadie interfered.
The Undertaker added another notch to his WrestleMania belt by defeating King Kong Bundy in another short but entertaining match.
Owen Hart and Yokozuna defeated the Smoking Gunns in a match for the Tag Team Championship. Hart had gone into the match without revealing who his partner was going to be.
When Yokozuna came out, I knew the Smoking Gunns were going to lose the title. Yokozuna was a huge force in WWF at the time, and teaming him with the talented Owen Hart made for a very interesting pairing of power and grace.
By far the best match of the night was Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund in an "I Quit" match with Rowdy Roddy Piper as the special guest referee.
The match was brutally intense, and both men looked like they left every bit of themselves in the ring that night.
Hart won the match after reversing Backlund's signature Cross-Face Chicken Wing submission hold and putting Backlund in his own finisher.
Backlund did not clearly say "I Quit," but Piper called the match after Backlund was clearly in no position to continue.
I had a hard time finding either of the following matches to be worthy of following the bout I had just seen, but the two matches after Hart's win were both quite entertaining.
The WWF Championship match was between reigning champion Diesel and Royal Rumble winner Shawn Michaels.
This was the year when Michaels entered the Rumble at No. 1 and made history by lasting all the way to the end, winning by eliminating The British Bulldog.
There was also the added bonus of having Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy escort Diesel to the ring. Sid was there too, but he was not as fun to look at, obviously.
Michaels and Diesel put on a great show that night. Diesel was in the best shape of his career at the time, and Michaels could make anyone look like a star.
Even though Michaels failed to win the title that night, he won the respect of many fans who may have considered him to be too small to ever hold the title.
The final match of the night was between NFL standout Lawrence Taylor and the immortal Bam Bam Bigelow, with the special guest referee being none other than WWE legend and first holder of the IC title, Pat Patterson.
Taylor was the baby-face going into the match, as Bigelow was WWFs resident bully, along with Ted Dibiase.
Taylor impressed me that night by showing he had put in time trying to learn how to put on the best match he could with a lot less time to prepare than normal.
This was the big media event for WrestleMania. Taylor was already considered an NFL legend at the time, and he brought his star power to the ring with him that night.
Taylor ended up defeating the much larger Bigelow after a much more competitive match than I would have expected from any non-wrestler on the card.
The card was stacked with huge stars, and the night was filled with memorable moments. I had never been able to purchase a PPV before this WrestleMania due to my family not having the right kind of cable box until then, so all my experiences with PPVs had been through my local video store.
One little thing I find interesting is that out of the 16 wrestlers on the card (not counting LT), the only one still actually employed by WWE as a wrestler is Undertaker.
A couple of the other guys have legends deals with WWE, but Taker wrestled a match at WrestleMania, and none of the other people from this event 17 years ago can make the same claim.
I am glad this was the first WrestleMania I was able to purchase, because it ended up being one of my favorites out of all 28 events we have seen to date.
I thank you for joining me on this little trip down memory lane. If you enjoyed this, then please check out Day 1 and Day 2 of my Extreme Rules fan diary. Make sure to check back tomorrow for Day 4.
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